All adults aged 20 years old and above are advised to undergo a fasting lipoprotein profile test to measure their cholesterol numbers once every 5 years. However, if you have other risk factors for heart disease like family history of heart disease, high blood pressure and etc, you should measure your cholesterol level more frequently.
When you browse through your lipid profile test results, there will be various cholesterol numbers to indicate your blood cholesterol status and risk category for coronary heart disease. These numbers include cholesterol ratio and levels of HDL, LDL, total cholesterol and triglyceride. It is important that you know how to read these numbers to find out if your body is sending out a green or red light and to seek consultation from your health care provider.
Total cholesterol is a measure of HDL, LDL and VLDL and the lower your number is, the lower your chance of developing heart disease will be. A person with high total cholesterol level has twice the risk of coronary heart disease compared to one with optimal total cholesterol level.
Your LDL cholesterol level is best kept at below 100mg/dl to minimize the accumulation of lipid and hardening of blood vessels. The decision to initiate therapeutic lifestyle changes and drug therapy will be largely dependent on LDL cholesterol levels. Generally, the higher your risk factor of heart disease is, the lower your LDL goal will be.
Known as the good cholesterol, HDL offers you protection against heart disease by taking out LDL from the bloodstream. So, the higher your HDL is, the more protected you are against heart disease. If your HDL level records a level below 40mg/dl, you are considered to have a major risk factor for heart disease.
Fats in our body exist as triglyceride and therefore, the higher your triglyceride number is, the more fat you have and therefore the higher your risk of getting heart disease is. You may require drug therapy if your triglyceride level is above 150mg/dl.
The cholesterol ratio is a number obtained by dividing HDL into the total cholesterol level. The ratio you should achieve is 3.5:1 but it is fine to keep your ratio below 5:1 for a lower risk of coronary heart disease. However, this value may not be as accurate as the HDL, LDL and total cholesterol numbers in the management of your disease.
Classification of Total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides
Compare your cholesterol numbers with the table below to find out your risk of coronary heart disease and whether you have normal cholesterol levels.
|200-239 mg/dl||Borderline High|
|100-129 mg/dl||Near or above optimal|
|130-159 mg/dl||Borderline High|
|≥190 mg/dl||Very High|
|150-199 mg/dl||Borderline High|
|≥500 mg/dl||Very High|